8 Tower Place Roslyn, NY 516-625-2566
Casual restaurant serving contemporary American food.Hours: Tue - Thu: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun: 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Mon: closed. Credit cards: Accepted Notable dishes: Char-grilled sirloin, roast duck breast, roasted halibut, salads, apple tart.
Updated and upscaled, the pond-side restaurant is a pretty place, improving as steadily as the clock tower sounds.
Swans drift by in the distance, adding to the scenery. And some diners do have a view of the slow-motion gliding once eyes go beyond the parking lot.
The restaurant complements and contrasts with the country-like setting, with stylish food that's often ambitious and inviting. Thyme just needs a bit more seasoning.
Chef Olivier Samuel Smith has done away with the Southern fried chicken and devil's food cake that originally graced his menu. But the plat du jour on Tuesday is braised short ribs, as if to remind visitors of Thyme's earlier days.
Now, salads are refreshing starters. Especially good are the endive-and-watercress union, with Roquefort cheese and a lemony vinaigrette; and the combo of mache, toasted black walnuts, goat cheese, mascarpone and figs.
Gazpacho arrives cold and summery, heavy on the red bell peppers and more mild than spicy, in a portion that could anchor a warm- weather lunch. Roasted lobster-corn-and-potato chowder has heft and hearty flavor.
A shrimp cocktail also is good, on a softball of shaved ice. But the "dry rub BBQ" shrimp shows up very dry, and the snappy mango- ginger salsa can't revive it. The baked oysters casino stress the extras more than the shellfish. You can take a less-formal route with Buffalo chicken skewers. Have a pint of Anchor Steam or Samuel Adams, too.
The sauteed crab cake shows up less crisp than blackened, and the inside seems short on shellfish. The caramelized onion tart, in potato crust and boosted by goat cheese, is better.
Thyme's char-grilled Black Angus sirloin steak heads the main courses, with mineral-sweet, beefy flavor. It's crowned with a clown's hat of onion rings. But the broccoli rabe below is stemmy stuff.
Slices of caramelized pear accent the tasty roast duck breast, finished with a cassis demi-glace. And caramelized shallots do the same for a moist, roasted baby chicken, which also has a potato cake for company. But the "wood-fired double-cut" pork chop will test your jaw. Very chewy.
Snowy roasted halibut materializes with fried leeks, grilled asparagus and garlic-mashed Yukon gold potatoes; and a slab of deftly grilled tuna is sparked by olives, capers, roasted peppers and a basil vinaigrette.
To conclude, try a delectable, warm apple tart. By comparison, the lemon tart tastes of metallic pie filling. Skip the pasty bread pudding in favor of a ripe-fruit strawberry shortcake; and forgo the chocolate torte, allowing room for grapefruit-and-Campari sorbet.
All this is served by an earnest and welcoming staff. Order carefully, and you'll have a a satisfying meal, as Thyme goes by.
Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti, Jul 2, 2006.